BBC spices up format for next 'MasterChef' series

Television bosses have unveiled a plan to reinvigorate the long-running cookery programme MasterChef. Amateur chefs will need to pass an audition – judged by hosts John Torode and Gregg Wallace – to qualify for the new series.

The 20 best cooks will get to don the MasterChef apron and show off their skills in a new and bigger kitchen. It means an end to the traditional format, in which the cooks competed in a series of heats to get to the next stage of the show.

Karen Ross, executive editor of Shine TV, which produces the show for the BBC, said: "Although we have always enjoyed the six weeks of heats to select the eight semi-finalists, we are excited to be starting with a smaller group of cooks and following them across the series.

"It will allow viewers to see more development of the contestants and enjoy an entire series of challenges that until now have only been possible in the semi-final and final rounds.

"The new kitchen will give us the space to do this and having the same competitors across the series will not only help them become even stronger cooks, it will [let] viewers engage with them even more."

This will be the seventh series of the hit show and will feature 15 hour-long episodes. Around 7.8 million viewers watched Lisa Faulkner win Celebrity MasterChef last week.

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